Acquiring and removing material from cells is a vital process to maintain healthy, viable cells. Phagocytosis is an engulfment process that serves this function in different cell types. For example, phagocytosis processes in mammalian immune cells are important in the removal of pathogens and cellular debris through macrophages. Defective phagocytosis pathways in this cell type are thought to be involved in various autoimmune diseases, and therefore are useful targets during drug development.
Studying phagocytosis can be achieved by several methods. In this application note we examined two commercially available phagocytosis assays which provide the ability to study phagocytosis in multi-well plate formats. The Vybrant™ Phagocytosis Assay (Molecular Probes) monitors a fluorogenic substrate, and the CytoSelect™ 96-well Phagocytosis Assay (Cell BioLabs) uses absorbance to monitor substrate. Both assays can be measured on the GloMax® Discover System, which provides extended dynamic range, superior sensitivity and minimal well-to-well cross talk. This application note describes the protocols to measure phagocytosis using these two commercially available assay kits.